Islamabad, March 10: Environment minister Hameedullah Jan Afridi has asked the concerned organizations to prepare emergency evacuation plans for areas a risk of flooding. Chairing a high power meeting here in Islamabad he said that the lake formed on Hunza River poses serious threat to thousands of human beings in upstream and downstream regions.
The meeting was attended by representatives of NDMA, FOCUS Pakistan, WAPDA, NESPAK, ERRA and the ministry of water and power.
Chairperson of FOCUS, Ms. Khadija Shaban, briefed the minister about the situation on ground and also shared findings of a report compiled by Dr. David Petley during his recent visit of the disaster hit area. Dr. David of the International Landslide Center of Durham University had been invited by FOCUS Pakistan to study the lake barrier and the surrounding areas and recommend future steps.
Khadija from FOCUS in her presentation pointed out that if the river water bursts out it would pose severe kind of difficulties to more than 500,000 people. She underlined the need to release water in phases to ensure minimum damage otherwise the situation would pose real threat to the people.The minister highly appreciated the work done by FOCUS.
The minister said the government is committed to making all possible arrangement to control the landslide situation in Atta Abad, Gilgit-Baltistan and necessary measures would be taken in this regard. About 25,000 people would be cut off from the downstream communities in case of an outburst. Moreover, if such an event occurs, there is a potential for a large flood wave to travel downstream as far as Terbela Dam.
According to the data, the spontaneous outburst would not only render thousands of people homeless but also have a reverse flow impact on Gilgit, Gizer and Skardu rivers like the 1858 floods that had reversed the flow of Kabul river upto 50 kilometre.
The outburst of river would also likely to damage vast area, also threatening lives of more than 15,000 people from Hunza down to Gilgit and more onwards to NWFP upto Tarbela Dam.
As water level in the river had risen to 213 ft by Tuesday and was rising 2 feet daily, the situation will become more dangerous with flow increasing after snow melting as temperature usually rise upto four degree centigrade in April.
The participants of the session were informed that flow in the river is recorded at 64 cusecs in January, 65 in February, 69 in March, 83 in April, 213 in May, 901 in June and 1100 in July.